Canada’s own Bryan Adams played to a sold-out house at Casino Rama Resort as part of his “Ultimate Tour” on July 4, 2018. A black grand piano, a set of drums, a few amps and a giant stage-wide HD video screen was all that adorned the stage as Adams’ and his band of stellar musicians took it for a 2-hour romp through the musician’s extensive catalog of hits. Opening with “Ultimate Love”, one of two new tracks from his recent hits compilation release Ultimate, Adams was dressed in a blue sports coat, white dress shirt and dark jeans that matched his bandmates for that retro big band uniform look onstage. With his slick back hair and polished stage presence, Adams perfectly nailed the classy musician vibe.

Working the crowd from the beginning, it was apparent that he wanted to be able to actually see his audience, and as he asked for the house lights to be brought up briefly; he commented that there’d better be dancing in the aisles and more standing than sitting for the show. The lighting was rigged to wash over the crowd for most of the set, and pure white spots were trained on Adam to make sure we could see him as well. Alternating between electric and acoustic guitars, as well as whole band, duets and solo spots, his performance was nothing short of breathtaking. Adams’ instantly recognizable raspy vocals were intact even after nearly 40 years of entertaining the world and still had the strength to power through every note with authority.

His band was solid on all accounts. Longtime collaborator and guitarist Keith Scott, keyboardist Gary Breit, bassist Solomon Walker and drummer Mickey Curry brought the goods when the punch of the whole band was needed. But honestly, it was when Adams was alone at centre stage with just his guitar, that the heartfelt notes and words shone through the most. Just an artist and his instrument, alone with his fans, showing them a piece of himself. Check the setlist below. He played almost everything you’d want and expect.

For the 5 song encore, Adams included a few classic covers including “I Fought the Law” where the many camera persons in the venue trained their cameras on the audience as they were projected on the video screen. Adams mentioned that while in Ireland the previous week he learned “Whiskey in the Jar” for the first time, and presented his haunting stripped-down version of it alone, with guitar and harmonica in hand.

Watch the video for Bryan Adams’ new “Brand New Day” video here.

Adams also told the story of how his parents bought him a used piano when he was a teenager and that he had written his first “real” song, “Straight From The Heart”, on it. And also let us know that he had lost his father a week ago and his mother had a stroke almost at the same time. It was a heartfelt and emotional tune already, but this night we felt it just a bit more as he continued alone with his pair of instruments. The evening ended with “All For Love” which was co-written by Adams, Rod Stewart and Sting as Adams requested all the smartphone flashlights in the crowd be turned on to light up the room.

Bands tour, artists play and as they get older their shows can get stagnant if they’re not careful. Bryan Adams is not one of those artists. It’s an event when he comes to town, and we were treated to his talents in a venue a quarter the size of his customary arena-sized shows. If he comes to your town, hit this show. You won’t be disappointed.

Bryan Adams’ Setlist:

01. Ultimate Love
02. Can’t Stop This Thing We Started
03. Run to You
04. Go Down Rockin’
05. Heaven
06. This Time
07. It’s Only Love
08. Please Stay
09. Cloud #9
10. You Belong to Me
11. Summer of ’69
12. Here I Am
13. When You’re Gone
14. (Everything I Do) I Do It for You
15. Back to You
16. Somebody
17. Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?
18. The Only Thing That Looks Good on Me Is You
19. Cuts Like a Knife
20. 18 til I Die
21. I’m Ready
22. Brand New Day
23. I Could Get Used to This
24. I Fought the Law (The Crickets cover)
25. Whiskey in the Jar ([traditional] cover)
26. Straight From the Heart
27. All for Love (Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart & Sting cover)